Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Album Review: Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite by Merrill Collins (feat. Vito Gregoli & Kimberly Haynes)

Merrill Collins is a New Jersey born and raised pianist and composer who combines her classical music training with contemporary innovation. Having released a handful of albums and many singles in tandem with a diverse range of artists, Collins’ latest album, Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite, sees her team up with multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli and vocalist Kimberly Haynes, a duo who often work together on various musical projects.

Created primarily with Yoga practice in mind, Every Man, Woman and Child is approximately 56 minutes of restorative bliss comprised of three compositions with each spanning from 15 to 20 minutes in length. While Collins has been recording for several years as part of a neoclassical new age trio that includes a cellist and flutist, here she collaborates with another established musical pair who beautifully enfold her improvisational piano melodies with a more global sound drawn from Eastern mystical traditions. Boasting an impressively large collection of world instruments, Vito Gregoli plays many of them on this album, while Kimberly Haynes infuses the opening and closing pieces with her soothingly soulful mantra and folk-style singing.

The opening track, “Om Mani Padme Hum”, is a moderately rhythmic piece that features freeform piano notes leisurely drifting amid a fluid amalgamation of guitars, vocals, tabla drums and other subtle instruments. Following next, “Ambient Journey” is a mesmerizingly mellow and brainwaves-altering piece clocking in at just over 20 minutes. The most deeply rejuvenating composition on the album, as well as my personal favorite, it’s characterized by a hazy atmosphere of bells, bowls, sitar, synthesizer and crystalline piano droplets. Finally, “We the People” is another gently rhythmic piece, this time reuniting Collins with her familiar past collaborators, Maksim Velichkin and Laura Hallady, alongside Gregoli and Haynes. Imbued with a touch of 60s psychedelia, the lyrical melody “every man, woman and child” is repeated towards the end for a celebratory conclusion.

Perfectly suited for Yoga practice as well as other forms of conscious body movement, Every Man, Woman and Child: Yoga Flow Suite is an immensely rewarding and free-spirited musical offering of relaxation, rhythm and aural resplendence! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit Spiraling Music. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and other online music retailer & streaming platforms.